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Interview and reviews for Doug Marlette’s book

The Boston Globe has posted a review of Doug Marlette’s fiction novel, Magic Time. And the Clarion-Ledger has posted an interview with Doug regarding the book.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview.

Q: In your dedication, you point out that your father looked for the bodies of Schwerner Chaney and Goodman, as if to distinguish him from Judge Ransom. Was this in part because of the dust-up that followed the misreading of biographical details in The Bridge? And how did your father, in fact, come to search for the three civil rights workers?

A: I had already written a draft of Magic Time when I mentioned to my father a couple of years ago that I was going down to Mississippi to attend the 40th anniversary observance of their deaths. My 82-year-old father said, “Yes, I remember. I was involved in the search for their bodies.”

My father had been a Marine Corps lifer stationed in Laurel, Mississippi, at the time that the military and the National Guard were called up to troll the bogues of Neshoba County for the victims’ bodies, as memorialized in the film Mississippi Burning. He was typical of many Southern whites, not sympathetic to the Movement, but no Kluxer either. He was a law-abiding citizen who was simply doing his duty when his government asked him to help the FBI find the missing civil rights workers. But he had little to add from his memories, except for some of the details of the sweep and the trip by bus from Laurel to Neshoba County.

My family reminds me of Forrest Gump, always present at these significant moments, major historical events of the twentieth century, yet unaware of their significance to the nation at the time. But in that Gumpian obliviousness lies something of the mystery of how we all participate in history, how it flows around us and calls to us from the headlines and evening news, making it seem as if its always happening to somebody else, yet we are always inextricably bound up in it but somebody has to see it and name it, put it in the context of a story, for it to become meaningful. That sense of the presence of history in the everyday, that what we do matters, was one of the qualities I was trying to capture in Magic Time.

I didn’t put two and two together until after I saw that the interview was done with the Clarion-Ledger. Marshall Ramsey, the Clarion-Ledger editorial cartoonist blogged about meeting Doug when he (Doug) visited the paper for the interview.

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